When I was a kid, I didn’t think about my mom as a real person with feelings and thoughts. She was just my mom. She was the one who gave me food, kissed my boo-boos, and spoiled me on holidays. She made sure to always stay strong for me so I almost never saw her cry or get angry with strangers. It always shocked me to hear another person refer to my mom by her real name because she was supposed to be just “Mom.” So basically, when it came to my mom, I was really selfish.
I certainly didn’t make my mom’s life easy. As a kid, I argued with her constantly, fought with my brother and generally just defied her as much as possible. As I entered the teenage years, it all became much much worse. I have recollections of screaming at her in grocery stores and many other public places in an effort to embarrass her into giving into me.
Now that I am a mom, I realize that my mom is a person and can relate to me (yes, it took me that long). When she told me that she remembered what it was like to be a kid, I believe her now. Because I have vivid recollections of my own childhood and my teen angst as I sat in my bedroom listening to Nirvana as well as that desire to impress others that coursed through me.
Admittedly, my mom and I traveled somewhat different paths in our youth. My mom met and fell in love with my dad when she was just 13. I, on the other hand, bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend from the age of 12 until I met my husband at 23. She was the youngest of 3 and was born to older parents where I was the oldest of 2 and my parents were much younger. Although our experiences weren’t exactly the same, I think that she really did understand where I was coming from when another relationship ended or another friend disappointed me.
I believe now that my mom loved me so much that she felt like she would pop from the emotion of it, because that’s how I feel when I look at my son. I understand that she did feel sad, angry, hurt, disappointed and frustrated but that she loved me too much to burden me with that. I recognize all of the sacrifices she made for me.
Now, I feel lucky to have my mom. I appreciate that she always included me in her adventures – even though at the time it felt like torture being dragged to parks and antique shops. I have fond memories of snuggling in bed with her when my dad was out of town or waking up to the smell of pancakes and bacon on Saturday mornings. I love that she and my dad always filled the house and car with music (good music too). I appreciate that she was willing to drive me 40 minutes away so that I could buy hideous purple Guess jeans, and she never once questioned my fashion decisions.
I just wish that I would have appreciated her more when she was around all of the time. Now we have separate lives and live in different towns. It seems like we always have too much to do and not enough time for each other. But at least now I have the maturity and the voice to tell her how much she means to me.